Uranium Enrichment In Iran To Halt.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami issued a statement yesterday to the effect that for the meantime Iran would be ceasing its uranium enrichment program. He said: "We are ready to cooperate with the world to give more certainty that Iran is not moving toward the creation of nuclear arms."

This is the right way to go for Iran and certainly the world could learn a thing or two from this act of modesty and restraint from a country that is more known today as being part of the “axis of evil”. The world today takes a step forward towards a nuclear-free world, or at least a world far from the threatening hands of a nuclear holocaust. It may not be as big a step as we wanted it to be but at least, we could see now what “right direction” means for Iran and other so-called “rogue states”.

A day earlier, the international political scene was pleasantly surprised to hear that the United States was finally backing out of its opposition to Iran’s entry to the WTO. This was considered as a “major shift” on international policy considering that the United States had never been known to flip-flop with its agenda in the global scheme of things, not in the issue of terrorism and much more in the aspect of nuclear threat in the world today. But there it was, the United States condoning the wishes of its European allies to finally allow Iran membership into the world’s largest global economic grouping known as WTO. I should say also that the world could learn from this unexpected but greatly appreciated move of backing out by the all-powerful Uncle Sam.

When asked if Iran’s decision to stopped uranium enrichment was rooted on the U.S. backing off from its WTO opposition, President Khatami dismissed it as plain ridiculous and likened it to trading a lion for a mouse. He said that the reason for the halt in uranium enrichment was mostly based on moral grounds and nothing else. A senior Iranian official clarified that WTO membership is not really that important to Iran since aside from oil, its other main exports are basically insignificant items such as pistachios.

But I think, the Iranian official is just saying that in order to maintain any remaining leverage it has in its negotiation for more trade with Europe. One of its conditions for abandoning the nuclear program is increased exports quota of non-petroleum items to European countries and an enhanced technology transfer from Europe to Iran. Clearly, Iran is taking serious efforts to enter the global trade and to this, WTO membership is an inevitable prerequisite.

All in all, we hope that all is well that ends well. If we can urge a country like Iran to go nuclear-free, then perhaps countries like North Korea, India and Pakistan may follow suit. These countries should be ashamed of themselves and should instead emulate Iran and the United States for knowing how to take some steps backward in times when they are needed, and know that restraint and moderation is a major plus for world peace, and humanity in general.
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